Date: Sat May 17 2003 - 07:19:02 EDT
I agree with Riccardo on the importance of democracy for socialism. This is a fundamental issue for any revolution and any process of transition. Clearly there were severe shortcomings (this is an understatement) in this respect in the early years of the Soviet Union (I am talking about the repression of the non-bolshevik left & similar groups; I have no problem with the summary execution of the Romanovs - surely we all agree that the Revolution was not obliged to respect the human rights of the Czar & Co., and that chopping off the head of Louis XVI was also unavoidable). It is quite possible that the same applies to Cuba, in the early 60s as well as now. However, this is a general statement, with little import on the specific case of the death penalty that we have been talking about. Whereas state terrorism and mass repression must be avoided and resisted if necessary, even during (purported) socialist transitions, politically-inspired kidnappings, sabotage and individual right-wing terrorism must be crushed by the socialist state. There can be no equivocation, because the alternative is the White Terror, foreign invasion or both. This is true for revolutionary France, the USSR and Cuba. The *way* to crush terrorism against the socialist or revolutionary state and its people - the precise relationship between mass (armed) vigilance, public demonstrations, propaganda, police and intelligence work, undercover deals, changes in the law, etc, depends on the circumstances, and it can shift over time. But I would not make a point (this is a general statement, not a comment on previous posts) of requiring that any socialist state, or revolutionary regime, must respect the UN or European charter on human rights at all times, as a condition for my support, or in order to have the right to be called socialist or whatever. This is not a matter choice, it is an imposition of reality; otherwise we would become armchair intellectuals, tied by our ethics to the principle of non-action (this is, again, a general statement rather than a comment on previous posts). alfredo.
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